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y separately published work icon A Writing Life : Helen Garner and Her Work single work   biography  
Issue Details: First known date: 2017... 2017 A Writing Life : Helen Garner and Her Work
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Helen Garner is one of Australia’s most important and most admired writers. She is revered for her fearless honesty in the pursuit of her craft.

'But Garner also courts controversy, not least because she refuses to be constrained by the rules of literary form. She has never been afraid to write herself into her nonfiction, and many of her own experiences help to shape her fiction. But who is the ‘I’ in Helen Garner’s work?

'Bernadette Brennan’s A Writing Life is the first full-length study of Garner’s forty years of work, a literary portrait that maps all of her books against the different stages of her life.

'Brennan has had access to previously unavailable papers in Garner’s archive, and she provides a lively and rigorous reading of the books, journals and correspondence of one of Australia’s most beloved women of letters.' (Publication summary)

Notes

  • Epigraph: Tell me what the artist is, and I will tell you of what he has been conscious. Thereby I shall express to you at once his boundless freedom and his 'moral' reference. –Henry James, Preface to The Portrait of a Lady (1881)
  • Other formats: Also sound recording.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Melbourne, Victoria,: Text Publishing , 2017 .
      image of person or book cover 8857039054664196503.jpg
      This image has been sourced from Booktopia
      Extent: 352p.
      Note/s:
      • Published 3 April 2017
      ISBN: 9781925498035

Works about this Work

Tim Winton, Helen Garner, Paul Keating, Deng Adut : The Stories behind the Year's Best Biographies Tim Winton , Deng Adut , Bernadette Brennan , Joan Healy , Judith Brett , Troy Bramston , 2018 single work column
— Appears in: The Guardian Australia , 12 July 2018;

'Six authors nominated for the National Biography awards reveal what most surprised them about their subjects.' (Publication abstract)

Ways of Seeing : Helen Garner and Her Work Maggie MacKellar , 2018 single work essay
— Appears in: Island , no. 152 2018; (p. 8)

'Asked to launch Bernadette Brennan's literary portrait of Helen Garner, Maggie MacKellar rediscovers the power and humanity of one of Australia's most respected writers.'

Joshua Pomare Reviews A Writing Life : Helen Garner and Her Work by Bernadette Brennan Joshua Pomare , 2017 single work essay
— Appears in: Mascara Literary Review , December no. 21 2017;

'It is at these boundaries, the rough torn edges of art and artist that we understand our subjects best. A Writing Life: Helen Garner and Her Work by Bernadette Brennan is a remarkably shrewd study of Garner’s work knitted with a tender representation of her personal life. Brennan dives into the murky grey depths that separate ‘literary critique’ and ‘biography,’ choosing instead the more ambiguous denomination of ‘literary portrait.’ This bifurcation of sub-genres might seem like literary posturing; such distinctions are often made by marketing teams as opposed to the author themself. However the language we use to segment books into genre is significant for readers and thus important to authors in terms of distribution and readership.'   (Introduction)

On Brennan on Garner Peter Hayes , 2017 single work review
— Appears in: TSIR , no. 5 2017;

— Review of A Writing Life : Helen Garner and Her Work Bernadette Brennan , 2017 single work biography
Oblique Portrait in Search of Garner’s ‘I’ Felicity Plunkett , 2017 single work essay
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 29 April 2017; (p. 16)
'Edges are magic, writes Ali Smith in her genre-crossing 2012 book Artful. ‘‘[T]here’s a kind of forbidden magic on the borders of things, always a ceremony of crossing over, even if we ignore it or are unaware of it.’’ Australia’s Helen Garner ‘‘has always been a boundary-crosser’’, argues academic and researcher Bernadette Brennan.' (Introduction)
On Brennan on Garner Peter Hayes , 2017 single work review
— Appears in: TSIR , no. 5 2017;

— Review of A Writing Life : Helen Garner and Her Work Bernadette Brennan , 2017 single work biography
A New Literary Portrait of Helen Garner Leaves You Wanting to Know More Jen Webb , 2017 single work essay
— Appears in: The Conversation , 3 May 2017;
'How remarkable that, after some 40 years of books and essays, stories, articles and movies, there have been so few major publications on the life and works of Helen Garner. The National Library of Australia catalogue lists discussion notes; a study (in Mandarin) by Zhu Xiaoying; and Kerryn Goldsworthy’s excellent 1996 monograph. Bernadette Brennan’s A Writing Life goes a considerable way to filling out this slender collection' (Introduction)
'A Writing Life : Helen Garner and Her Work' by Bernadette Brennan Jan McGuinness , 2017 single work essay
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , May no. 391 2017;
'Who is the I in Helen Garner’s work? This is the question Bernadette Brennan probes by canvassing more than forty years of Garner’s writing and her seventy-four-year existence. It is the proposition Garner’s fans and critics are most exercised by, although some presume to know the answer by reading her fiction as autobiography and her non-fiction as personal opinion.' (Introduction)
Oblique Portrait in Search of Garner’s ‘I’ Felicity Plunkett , 2017 single work essay
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 29 April 2017; (p. 16)
'Edges are magic, writes Ali Smith in her genre-crossing 2012 book Artful. ‘‘[T]here’s a kind of forbidden magic on the borders of things, always a ceremony of crossing over, even if we ignore it or are unaware of it.’’ Australia’s Helen Garner ‘‘has always been a boundary-crosser’’, argues academic and researcher Bernadette Brennan.' (Introduction)
Joshua Pomare Reviews A Writing Life : Helen Garner and Her Work by Bernadette Brennan Joshua Pomare , 2017 single work essay
— Appears in: Mascara Literary Review , December no. 21 2017;

'It is at these boundaries, the rough torn edges of art and artist that we understand our subjects best. A Writing Life: Helen Garner and Her Work by Bernadette Brennan is a remarkably shrewd study of Garner’s work knitted with a tender representation of her personal life. Brennan dives into the murky grey depths that separate ‘literary critique’ and ‘biography,’ choosing instead the more ambiguous denomination of ‘literary portrait.’ This bifurcation of sub-genres might seem like literary posturing; such distinctions are often made by marketing teams as opposed to the author themself. However the language we use to segment books into genre is significant for readers and thus important to authors in terms of distribution and readership.'   (Introduction)

Ways of Seeing : Helen Garner and Her Work Maggie MacKellar , 2018 single work essay
— Appears in: Island , no. 152 2018; (p. 8)

'Asked to launch Bernadette Brennan's literary portrait of Helen Garner, Maggie MacKellar rediscovers the power and humanity of one of Australia's most respected writers.'

Last amended 15 May 2018 12:35:37
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